FASNACHTSKUCHLES

That’s (phonetically)         

FAST  (with a short “a”)

                        KNOCK  (like, “Knock, knock.” “Who’s there?”)

                                    KEEGLE (Sounds like “regal” only with a K)

My niece actually knows all about these things. She can even pronounce the name without a weird look on her face. Once, she shared, she was applying for a position and advised her interviewer that if she got the job she would need Shrove Tuesday off.

“What’s Shrove Tuesday and why do you need the day off?” the lady asked.

“It’s the day before Ash Wednesday, and I am making fasnachtkuchles that day.”

The interviewer smiled and responded,  “Honey, if you can pronounce that word, you can have the day off.”

Now, why should I be writing about this?  

. . . Because fasnachtskuchles are so-o-o good.

Every year, my niece invites friends and family, and people from the highways and byways to come to her party. (No, I’m not releasing her name, nor am I going to whisper her address.) She spends her day, that day, whipping up these delicious little munchables. Made up of good stuff, like lard, sugar, fat and butter, fried in a tub of cooking oil, and sometimes filled with jelly, they are the main course for an evening meal with a side of peanuts.

Reminiscent of my childhood country home, entry to their house is through the kitchen where our hostess is busy either dropping lumps into a pot or retrieving them from the boiling oil. Warm welcomes turn into “How’ve ya been?” to this or that person hovering about the room. Much to the relief of both kids and parents, the young ones turn right into a large room filled with toys, games and other intriguing items. With party punch in hand, adult guests move to the left where an informal seating arrangement around three tables invites long conversations among family and friends. Sometimes it’s hard to find a chair, sometimes not, as the crowd ebbs and flows over the course of the evening.

The room grows strangely quiet, though, and heads turn when our hostess enters with a fresh tray of hot, mouth-watering buns. Some are glazed, some sugared, some jelly filled. Hands reach out and the plate magically empties. Just tonight – forget healthy living. These are just too good to pass-up.

According to Middle-age European mythology, the event was a necessary purging of all desirable food stuffs in the kitchen pantry before entering the annual 40 days of fasting once required of all Catholics. Given the calories consumed in that one evening, it’s a wonder our systems have cleared in time for the Easter chocolates found at the other end of Lent.

Hats off – to the lady who spent the whole day in the kitchen.

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